Muslim sensitivity causes Malaysian printer to censor pig faces!

Why Evolution Is True

Please don’t expect deep thoughts today, as Professor Ceiling Cat is working hard. The last two posts of the day will be semi-humorous ones about religious lunacy and animals.

This first one, from the BBC, shows how far journalists in Islamic countries will go to avoid offending Mulsims.

Look at the picture of these pigs, which was from the International Edition of the New York Times published in Malaysia. It accompanied an article on the rising demand for pigs in the U.S.

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WHAT? The faces of the pigs are blacked out (the normal picture in other NYT editions is below); the culprit was the Malaysian firm KHL printers.

_72513115_origThat’s not the only porcine censorship that was exercised.  As the Malay Mail Online adds:

A front-page story in the international NYT yesterday featured a picture of piglets standing in the snow, but the printers of the Malaysian edition, KHL Printing…

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Two nice animal videos: The most happiest elephant in the world and a lion whisperer

Why Evolution Is True

I may have posted this first video before, but I couldn’t find it by searching for “elephant.” At any rate, I don’t have much information except that it purports to show a baby elephant encountering the ocean for the first time. And that seems pretty accurate. It will raise your spirits unless you’re one of those atheists who is terminally morose and nihilistic (more on that tomorrow). And, watching it, can you doubt that this animal is feeling a kind of joy as it splashes and plays about?

Here’s a brave guy, and the information on this video is this:

Animal behaviourist, Kevin Richardson, has struck up a remarkable friendship with an entire pride of lions in South Africa. Sky’s Africa Correspondent Emma Hurd reports.

NOTE: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME (assuming you have lions at home).

h/t: Grania, Blue

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Damon Linker wants atheists to struggle

Why Evolution Is True

For reasons known best to himself, author Damon Linker, whose website notes that he writes on “faith and politics,” has lately narrowed this topic down to criticizing New Atheism.  His criticisms, of course, aren’t new, and he seems to publish the same ones repeatedly. I’ve discussed his pieces at The Week twice (see here, and here); in the last one he notoriously endorsed David Bentley Hart’s Highly Sophisticated view of God. In Linker’s words:

. . . according to the classical metaphysical traditions of both the East and West, God is the unconditioned cause of reality — of absolutely everything that is — from the beginning to the end of time. Understood in this way, one can’t even say that God “exists” in the sense that my car or Mount Everest or electrons exist. God is what grounds the existence of every contingent thing, making it possible…

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Teaching creationism is widespread in U.S. public schools

Why Evolution Is True

Twelve days ago anti-creationism activist Zack Kopplin wrote a long piece for Slate about how Texas’s “charter schools” (special schools that are supported by state money), particularly those using the Responsive Education Solutions system, are openly teaching not only creationism (using, of course, materials provided by Responsive Ed), but a grossly distorted right-wing view of history. Have a look at that article to see some egregious examples; suffice it to say these schools teach lies to 17,000 students in 65 schools, and get about $82 million in taxpayer money.

It is, of course, illegal to teach creationism in public schools, for it violates the First Amendment mandating the separation of church and state. Court after court has supported this stand, but the schools persist simply because bringing a court case requires a student and his/her parent to complain to a legal organization such as the ACLU or the Freedom from…

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Shaping Humanity- a new book by John Gurche on science and art

Why Evolution Is True

by Greg Mayer

John Gurche, the well known scientific illustrator and “Paleo-Artist” has recently published a new book, Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins (Yale University Press, 345 pages, $49.95)

Gurche book coverGurche is best known for his exacting reconstructions of fossil hominids in paintings, bronzes, and life reconstructions, although he also occasionally tackles other subjects, as in his highly regarded “Tower of Time” vertical mural at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which treats much of the whole history of life. WEIT readers may recall that back in 2010 I had occasion to praise his reconstructions (slide show) and bronzes (slide show) for the then new human evolution exhibit, also at the National Museum of Natural History. Here are two I showed back then; a facial reconstruction of Paranthropus boisei:

and a bronze of a Neanderthal…

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